Wednesday 20 June 2018

Several Eagles players say they won’t attend the White House visit after their Super Bowl win

At least three players have confirmed they won’t attend a meeting at the White House if invited.

Torrey Smith, Malcolm Jenkins and Chris Long say they won't attend a White House visit (Eric Gay/Matt Slocum/Matt Slocum/AP)
Torrey Smith, Malcolm Jenkins and Chris Long say they won't attend a White House visit (Eric Gay/Matt Slocum/Matt Slocum/AP)

By Grace Rahman, Press Association

Several Philadelphia Eagles players say they don’t plan on attending a visit to the White House following their Super Bowl win on Sunday.

Malcolm Jenkins, Torrey Smith and Chris Long have already said they won’t go to meet Donald Trump for the winning team’s traditional visit following the annual NFL championship game.

Jenkins, safety for the Eagles, told CNN on Monday that he did “not anticipate attending”.

He was a founding member of the Players Coalition, a group of NFL players protesting against social inequality and racism.

Eagles wide receiver Smith also tweeted after the win implying he wouldn’t visit the White House.

When one follower asked why he wouldn’t attend, he seemed to confirm saying: “It goes beyond politics….I don’t think he is a good person.”

Another criticised him for not attending, referencing the drop in black unemployment Trump took credit for during his State of the Union address last week.

The Twitter user also mentioned serving American soldiers – respecting the military is often used in arguments made against players protesting during the national anthem at games.

Smith replied denying the president’s claim, saying: “HE DIDN’T DO ANYTHING! Stop giving credit when it’s not true. That trend started under Obama and continued to drop.

“Our soldiers have nothing to do with my feelings towards the president. I show every soldier I meet love. Real heroes!”

Long, defensive for the Eagles, told the “Pardon my take” podcast a week before the match that he would not attend a White House visit.

“No, I’m not going to the White House. Are you kidding me?” he said.

He was on last year’s winning team, the Patriots, and did not attend Trump’s White House meet and greet that year either.

Trump has long criticised NFL players who have knelt in protest during the national anthem played at matches.

On Sunday afternoon, he took credit for the fact that no players demonstrated during the anthem at the Super Bowl, telling an audience in Ohio “there was nobody kneeling at the beginning of the Super Bowl”, and later saying: “We’ve made a lot of improvement, haven’t we?”

Press Association

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